The oceans need sharks


To the Editor:

This is a copy of a letter written to the Oak Bluffs selectmen.

We are writing with regard to the annual Oak Bluffs Monster Shark Tournament. Our grassroots group called Vineyarders Against the Shark Tournament (VAST) is in agreement with the position of the Shark-free Marina Initiative that states:

“Sharks are being killed at an unsustainable rate. It is estimated that 70 million sharks are killed annually, primarily for their fins to be sold in the Asian market. According to the National Marine Fisheries Service, roughly 200,000 of these sharks are killed by recreational anglers in the United States. Not an insignificant number by any means.

“The ‘Jaws’ myths are fantasies created by Hollywood designed to scare us. Sharks should not scare us. Sharks are guardians of the ocean. But they are being hunted, hunted to the very brink of extinction and our oceans are suffering.

“Everything has balance. The ocean is a fragile ecosystem. Without sharks the balance is lost. Without sharks our ocean food chain collapses. A world without sharks is a frightening thought. It is both tragic and regrettable that over 100,000 sharks are killed every day. That’s a lot of sharks! Gone! That’s real and that’s not a myth, and it’s totally unsustainable! Our world needs sharks. Killing sharks is not cool. It isn’t sport and it certainly is not part of a mindful culture. Killing sharks is killing the ocean.”

VAST is working to save our oceans. Our focus is to stop the annual Oak Bluffs Monster Shark Tournament. The logic is simple. Without sharks, smaller fish take over the ecosystem causing habitat destruction and eventual catastrophic damage to the global ocean network. In our view, the Monster Shark Tournament unnecessarily contributes to the declining shark population. We have enclosed numerous resources and scientific references which relate to this decline. We hope you will review these materials as you consider the future of the Monster Shark Tournament in Oak Bluffs.

Help us protect the guardians of the ocean. This is our world, and our world needs sharks.

Joyce Maxner

Vineyarders Against the Shark Tournament

West Tisbury